Quick take

Canadian consumers less confident this holiday season

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  • The Conference Board of Canada’s Index of Consumer Confidence retreated seven points in December to 101.2 (2014 = 100), the largest drop in three months. The decrease was seen across Canada and is now at its lowest point since April this year.
  • Canadians’ concerns over current finances remained relatively unchanged this month, with 12.3 per cent of those surveyed positive about their current financial situation.
  • Reservations about future finances were evident this month, with a two percentage points decrease in the share of respondents feeling optimistic about their future finances.
  • Reluctance over making major purchases remained broadly the same as the previous month, with only 18.3 per cent of survey respondents believing now is a good time to buy large-ticket items.
  • With job growth picking up sharply in November, 24 per cent of surveyed Canadians are confident about their future job prospects. Though this figure is lower than last month, it still exceeds any pre-pandemic high.

Key insights:

  • The last thing Canadians wanted during the holiday season was Omicron disrupting their plans. The new variant is creating an uncertain environment and dampening consumers’ optimism. High frequency data show that Canadians have already reduced their visits to restaurants. Depending on the severity of infections and hospitalizations, we could see a further decline in consumer confidence in the coming months until booster shoots become more widely available.
  • Despite the approaching festive season, Canadians are likely to spend less and save more due to their weaker purchasing power caused by inflation which is at a 30-year high. Omicron’s rise could further disrupt supply chains, adding to Canadians’ inflation woes. Besides, recent floods in British Columbia have already exacerbated supply chain pains. Major supply chain arteries have been shut for weeks and the provincial state of emergency has been extended until December 28th. These developments don’t bode well for consumer confidence this winter.

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Momanyi Mokaya

Momanyi Mokaya

Research Associate

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